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Industry Updates: Farm Bill Implementation, Rancher HELP Act and LCP Sign-up Begins

Implementing 2002 Farm Bill Programs: D.C. Workshop March 14-16

Washington, D.C. (March 3, 2003) – Cattle producers will have the opportunity to meet with state conservationists, congressional staffers, federal and state agriculture officials, and other interested agricultural groups at the National 2002 Farm Bill Implementation Workshop, scheduled March 14-16, 2003. The workshop, co-sponsored by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), will be held at the Washington Court Hotel in downtown Washington, DC.

The 2002 Farm Bill makes $17.1 billion available to implement a variety of conservation programs. Because of the voluntary nature of these programs, producers are able to "sign up" and receive cost share dollars to address land management goals. The government is in the early stages of delivering those Farm Bill conservation programs to private landowners.

Producers interested in enhancing implementation practices of 2002 Farm Bill conservation programs would benefit from this workshop. The workshop goal is to learn from the past experiences, and conference participants will take a real-world look at what works and what needs improvement.

The workshop structure will offer presentations, question and answer sessions, case studies, and involve small group discussions to assist with the development of a game plan for future endeavors back home. "Champions" of the new Farm Bill programs need to be developed on a local basis in each state to assist in improving Farm Bill delivery.

The workshop runs Friday, March 14 to Sunday, March 16. For a full schedule of events, agenda, registration application, hotel information and more, please go to hill.beef.org and select the topic "Farm Bill" or contact Myra Hyde in NCBA’s DC office at 202-347-0228.

Rancher HELP Act Gives Tax Break to Drought-Inflicted Producers

Washington, D.C. (March 3, 2003) – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is supporting the "Rancher HELP (Help Extend Livestock Proceeds) Act of 2003" (H.R. 478), which would defer capitol gains taxes for cattle producers forced to sell livestock due to drought. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Scott McInnis (R-CO).

The McInnis measure was attached as an amendment to the "Armed Services Tax Fairness Act of 2003" (H.R. 878) and favorably passed through the House Ways and Means Committee late last week.

"Producers thank Congressman McInnis and other members of Congress who clearly recognize the difficult situation ranchers are facing with little relief from the ongoing drought," says Eric Davis, Idaho cattle producer and NCBA president. "NCBA will continue to support this measure and other initiatives to provide much-needed assistance to our nation’s ranchers."

Under current tax laws, ranchers forced to reduce their herds due to historically-dry grazing lands are exempt from paying capital gains tax if they replace their herds within two years. "But the reality is that this drought has lasted for years with no relief in site," explains Davis.

NCBA’s Executive Director of Legislative Affairs Jay Truitt says the Rancher HELP Act will extend the time period up to four years before producers must replace their herds or be subject to capital gains.

"This legislation demonstrates that members of Congress understand the severity of this drought and its impact on ranchers," says Davis. "In addition, Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY) has introduced similar language in the Senate, and we are committed to working with both houses of Congress to pass this legislation."

NCBA members and beef producers can help in this effort by contacting their Member of Congress and urge their support of H.R. 478 or S. 252.

Sign-up for LCP Begins April 1, Veneman Announces
Funding Will Help Producers Burdened by Drought

Washington, D.C. (February 27, 2003) – Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced today that signup for participation in the Livestock Compensation Program (LCP) will begin April 1. Information on the LCP will be available at local Farm Service Agency offices or on the USDA web site at www.fsa.usda.gov.

At the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Board of Director’s meeting on Feb. 1, cattle producers made clear that disaster assistance remains a huge priority, and adopted formal resolutions to aggressively pursue adequate funding for livestock producers adversely impacted by disaster conditions, in addition to the funding provided last fall through NCBA’s efforts.

To that end, the FY 2003 Omnibus Appropriations Bill signed into law by President Bush on Feb. 20 allocates $350 million for the Livestock Assistance Program (LAP) and Livestock Compensation Program (LCP). Throughout the drawn-out appropriations process, NCBA communicated the needs of cattle producers to Congress and the Administration, urging support to help producers deal with the ongoing drought.

"NCBA is committed to working with Congress and government agencies to make sure that implementation of the Livestock Compensation Program is a smooth and efficient process, and that benefits reach producers in a timely manner," says Eric Davis, Idaho cattle producer and NCBA president. "Our focus continues to be on finding ways to get funds quickly into the hands of ranching families who need it the most."

In a related development, NCBA is supporting the "Rancher HELP (Help Extend Livestock Proceeds) Act of 2003" (H.R. 478), introduced by Rep. Scott McInnis (R-CO). This legislation will defer capitol gains taxes for cattle producers forced to sell livestock due to drought.

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